Rice Energy Fined $3.5 Million for Wellsite and Pipeline Violations

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has assessed civil penalties of more than $3.5 million to Rice Energy subsidiaries for multiple violations of environmental laws at 10 well sites and 6 pipeline locations.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Rice Energy signed seven separate enforcement documents addressing the violations that occurred at sites in Washington and Greene Counties. The violations span several years and include failing to obtain required permits, failing to maintain erosion and sedimentation controls, releasing wastewater to the ground and waters of the Commonwealth, and failing to have a pre-operational inspection of a well site by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection prior to drilling, among others.

“Minimizing the impacts that drilling activity has on Pennsylvania waterways is a key part of responsible development,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “While many of these violations have been corrected and remediated, they should have not happened in the first place. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will continue to hold responsible companies that act without permits and violate the rules and regulations of the Commonwealth.”

The fines include:
•    $1,633,550 for leaks from an unpermitted wastewater impoundment and insufficient erosion and sediment controls, failure to stabilize the well site, and other violations at two well sites in Jackson and Center Townships, Greene County.
•    $1,314,275 for failure to obtain a permit before earthmoving activities, failure to obtain a pre-operational inspection prior to drilling, and multiple erosion and sediment control violations in Washington and Greene counties.
•    $437,100 for erosion and sediment control violations and a well casing violation at sites in Washington and Greene counties.
•    $97,852 for failing to obtain a permit for a culvert, illegally discharging into a waterway, and erosion and sediment control violations at sites in Washington and Greene counties.
•    $14,850 for slope failure and sediment discharge outside of the permitted limit of disturbance at sites in Greene County.
•    $11,750 for violations associated with the company’s failure to maintain erosion and sedimentation controls in Washington County.
•    $35,075 for well site stabilization, casing, and road construction violations in Greene County.

Subsidiaries that are part of the enforcement actions are Rice Drilling B LLC, Rice Poseidon Midstream LLC, and Rice Midstream Holdings LLC. Sites formerly owned by Alpha Shale Resources, LP, now owned and operated by Rice Energy, are also included.

Rice Energy has paid all civil penalties imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and has either corrected or is under an enforceable schedule to correct the violations at its sites.

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